So, the ridiculous, the unthinkable has happened and the most ludicrous candidate in US history is now President-elect. Nothing to be done about that but tighten your seatbelt and hold on for that particular ride.
But there are massive lessons for the Labour party in the UK and particularly for the right wing of the party that has spent the last 14 months or so doggedly undermining their elected leader – and elected leader who has increased membership of the party to levels the ‘old guard’ would never have dreamed of. Lessons for the media, too, but while I don’t expect the media to pay attention, there might just be a glimmer of hope that the Labour right will.
Will you listen and learn, Progress et al?
- Get on board, stfu – or resign
Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic nomination to Clinton only because he was stitched up by a Democratic ‘old guard’ that couldn’t accept an insurgent candidate with mass popularity that didn’t toe the Establishment line, couldn’t accept that people are sick of
bland‘moderate’ candidates that stand for themselves more than anything and can’t be trusted to be and do something different. In this country, Labour’s right failed – twice – to prevent Jeremy Corbyn winning the party’s leadership. But they’ve done everything they possibly could since then to thwart, undermine, hobble and denigrate him – then, with no perceptible sense of irony, blaming him for bad polling after calling him unelectable until they’re blue in the face (a colour they seem all too comfortable with). If you really give a stuff for electability and for the good of ordinary people, stop it. Ideally get on board and back your leader and the politics people are craving. Or at least bite your tongue and stay out of the media. And if you can’t bring yourself to do either of those, show some spine and honour – resign your seat so you can be replaced with a better candidate.Fight as an independent if you really think you were elected rather than the rosette you wore and see how far that gets you.
- Polls mean nothing
All the polls were insisting that Hillary Clinton was on course for victory, in spite of a late surge by Trump. Just like they predicted a hung Parliament in 2015 and a disastrous result for Labour in the local elections a few months ago. For God’s sake learn the lesson. Polling is bad because ‘blue Labour’ can’t stop bad-mouthing the party’s leader and prospects and playing into the hands of a media machine all too eager to prevent any challenge to the status quo.But in spite of all that, polling simply cannot be trusted. There are clearly no models that can reflect the volatile mix of things going on at the moment. So stop talking about them as though they can predict anything, be relied on for anything. Get out there, tap into the real desire for change of the vast majority of British people who are not small-minded racists instead of thinking you have to out-UKIP UKIP to win.
- Win the apathetic, win the election
The Labour right are constantly bleating about the need to win Tory voters to win a General Election. Trump’s message was idiotic – but he won just enough previous non-voters to swing the result.In the UK, vastly more people did not vote Tory in 2015 than did vote Tory. But a lot of those didn’t vote at all, almost certainly because they didn’t see anything different enough to be worth voting for. “They’re all the same” is deadly to Labour’s electoral prospects – but Corbyn offers something different.As long as he’s allowed to get his message out without it being drowned by meaningless static from the right.
- Insurgency, insurgency, insurgency
Trump is an idiot. But he won because he was fighting a clear Establishment candidate. Bernie Sanders would have walked it, because he offered an anti-Establishment option with heart, humanity and vision. People in the US are so sick of corrupt, venal, Establishment politicians that they elected Donald Trump, for God’s sake, rather than hand the Presidency to an it’s-my-turn , ‘business as usual’ candidate. If all the Labour party unites behind a leader who has indisputable, massive anti-Establishment credentials over three decades and the authenticity and credibility that go with them, anything is possible.People in this country are sick to death of ‘more of the same’ – so, dear Labour colleagues of the right – stop trying to piss all over what they really need and to force-feed them something they have no appetite for, for the sake of your own short-sightedness.
- These are dangerous times
Trump is a narcissist with no morals or character. His win is already being welcomed by leaders of the European ultra-right, such as Le Pen and Farage. The rule of law in this country is being attacked by UK’s racist right – and the government is completely unable or unwilling to confront them and defend the independence of the judiciary. This is not the time for indulging your own lack of vision and playing games for the sake of your own careers and positions. You’ll never be forgiven if you do.
- Anything is possible
A ridiculous reality-TV host with orange skin, silly hair and a history of misogyny and abuse just won the US Presidency in spite of everything the Establishment of either main party threw at him – and in spite of being an awful human being. Don’t listen to what the media say – because in spite of continuing to tell us all what’s feasible based on what’s happened before, the media don’t have a bloody clue what’s going on or how to predict what will happen. If you think that a candidate who combines all the advantages of insurgency and not being ‘more of the same’ with decency, authenticity, genuine political vision and the ability to inspire can’t win an election here, then you’re bloody idiots.
And I don’t think you’re that stupid. So if you don’t get on board or at least out of the way, you’ve got nothing to hide behind any more.